With the arrival of a three game win streak, Frank Lampard, Andoni Iraola, Angelino, and likely Andrea Pirlo, New York City Football Club are experiencing a mentality change and with the influx of players, there will be players who will go, but who should be the first to go?
Ian Joy, the NYCFC YES Network commentator, stated that there would be five or six players joining in this transfer window. Iraola, and Angelino already occupy two of those slots and Pirlo is likely to occupy one as well. Outside of them, two or three players might come into the team, but in order for that to happen, some of the spare parts Kreis currently has must be let go of. As of right now, those spare parts look like Adam Nemec, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and Akira Fitzgerald.
Let’s start with the reasoning to part ways with Nemec. As of right now, Nemec, 29, has been a non-factor for the first year franchise. In his eight starts, where has averaged 72 minutes per game, Nemec is yet to get on the scoresheet as well as assist a goal, playing in the center forward role alongside Villa.
In comparison, Patrick Mullins, who has averaged 50 minutes over 11 games played, has accumulated 3 goals and 2 assists. Nemec has proved to be a liability and with him clogging the route for Khiry Shelton to potentially develop into a prolific striker, as well as for Mullins to continue his increasingly good form this season, he must be sold.
In the case of Watson-Siriboe, it’s more of a case of too much depth for New York. As of right now, Jeb Brovsky, Chris Wingert, Jason Hernandez, Josh Williams, Javier Calle, George John, Shay Facey, Connor Brandt, R.J. Allen, Angelino, and Iraola all occupy spots. While Calle and John are injured, that still leaves NYCFC with nine capable defenders, as well as a decisions to make regarding who should be sold.
Due to Brovsky, Wingert, Hernandez, Williams, Facey, and Allen having all been regulars in the lineup, Brandt being a second round product who has room for development, and Angelino and Iraola being new features, it singles out Watson-Siriboe as the likely suspect to be moved. While he has impressed at times, the others have been significantly better, as well as establishing their roles as starters for NYCFC, making it even harder for Watson-Siriboe to crack into the starting lineup, or even a bench position at this point.
Fitzgerald’s situation is much of the same to Watson-Siriboe as NYCFC have a large amount of goalkeepers already easily accessible on the roster. Josh Saunders is clearly established as the starting goalkeeper, but with Ryan Meara having played the backup role in the MLS and Erik Johansen, who has been loaned to NYCFC, having started against the New York Cosmos in the recent U.S. Cup game.
With Fitzgerald having played as the backup in the preseason when NYCFC were in Manchester as well as in Charleston for the Charleston Invitational, many anticipated it would be him who earned the backup role behind Saunders. But instead, after Saunders got a red card and would be forced to miss a game, Meara stepped up to the plate and delivered a strong performance against the Chicago Fire in Saunders absence and after receiving Johansen on loan from Manchester City, it seems as if Fitzgerald is the black sheep in regards to NYCFC’s goalkeeping corps, leaving him likely to be moved.
While players must be transferred out for NYCFC, it serves as room to grow. In the cases of Watson-Siriboe and Fitzgerald, it isn’t due to a lack of talent, but instead surplus depth on the roster, which comes as a positive sign for a team that was struggling tremendously just a month ago. NYCFC are using this transfer window as an opportunity to get ahead of rivals and challenge for the MLS Cup in their inaugural season, and thus far, all signs point in the right direction. But first and foremost, exports must be made in order for imports to occur.